Friday, February 26, 2010

Grateful for Playlist

What is the soundtrack for your life? Do you have songs you remember from earlier times in your youth? Perhaps a song you remember dancing to at your prom, or a song that came on the radio at a moment when you felt alone. Playlist gives you a chance to gather those lovely memories in one place. I often come to the blog, launch the page, sometimes write a post, but as often go to my sewing machine to work. I've selected shuffle, so that each time I come, the experience is different, but filled with music that is guaranteed to please.

When Christmas was here, it was wonderful to go in and listen to so many different pieces of music. Some like the Wexford Carol are still here after all the Christmas decorations are packed away... It is just too lovely to put away.

We went to see The Wolfman a day or two ago.
It was beautifully done, and an amazing combination of acting, makeup, and computer graphic animation. (So long as you like werewolf movies) My favorite scene was when he was undergoing the transformation, behind the back of his doctor?/tormentor who was droning on about his delusions of lycanthropy while he was changing in the view of the others. It is probably a bit telling that it is my favorite part, but experts in my life have often been longer on opinions and shorter on experience. A couple of clicks, then Little Red Riding Hood was added.

My sister and I used to stay up watching scary movies. It was the golden age of scary movies...Mothera is probably the one we talk about most frequently. One thing we loved was how the mouths and dialog never matched. Lots of years ago, more than 10, when free long distance was a new feature, we both sat and watched a movie together on the sci fi channel and while it wasn't quite as good as when we were girls, it was fun to talk about our lives just then, but every once in awhile one or the other of us would point out something we remembered in the movie.

Surely you would love to share your favorite pieces of music. Playlist has an amazing resource called the internet. :) Maybe you'll find all of your favorites, or perhaps a few. Scarborough Fair is a lovely enigmatic song that had slipped from my thoughts, I stumbled across it while searching something else. Then found several lovely versions that I'd never heard before. I've found a lovely piece to practice my tai chi to, what do you need?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Grateful for a STARRug!

Maria Barton, of STAR Rugs was a swap partner for me in a recent AAPG swap. She sent me so many wonderful things. In fact, this picture doesn't show two of the three pieces of wool. In rearranging all the wonders I moved the book, in front of the fanned out wools.

A lovely pattern with two kats and a ball. As is so often true with our boys, Bob and KirbyKat, one is happy and playful and the other does NOT want to join in the fun. In real life this often devolves into some sort of spat, but with this rug it will be a lot of fun to create, and part of my growing "keeper" stack of cat rugs. I had taken my unfinished KirbyKat rug to Discovery Green Market last weekend, where it created some possible interest in a purchase. No can do ~ selling rugs of our family cats just isn't something I'll do.

The punchneedle piece is wonderful, and Maria actually showed it on her blog too. I was the lucky friend in TX!♥ A lovely old fashioned cat with deep red heart and antique black background. My punch needle collection, which is awesome as they have come as gifts, includes items from Maria, Kelley, Betty, Debbie, and Chris. This is truly like owning a DiVinci, Homer, Van Gogh, Picasso, and a Degas. Not with regard to differences in style, but the quality of work and composition.

The wooly worms are the ones she sent for my antique black background(my first but probably not my last) in our current background challenge. Maria offered us two designs, as she did in the earlier PRHG challenge. It is currently in progress, so not even a sneak peek. The earlier challenge birthed my deeper understanding of what beauty could be found in rugs with as is and hand dyed wool combined. At that point, because of limited choices in color available to me, I was still doing what I think of as my coloring book phase. Maria's challenge gifted each of the participants with 400 or so worms of many colors. 10 or so of each of 40 colors... What an eye opener!

In this challenge we mailed worms to each of the participants, in a color they selected but hadn't used for a background before. Wonky old me had never used the ideal prim background, antique black! So I'm having an equally elevating experience in this challenge. I have used black before, but as specific things like a slate board or space in the left hand panel of my retirement rug. The space section was closest to what I'm doing for antique black.

The book was one of the items I spent time with during the opening of the box. Before moving on to other treasures, leafed through it. So many great items, this is going to be my "lesson plan" for Olivia's early projects, if she is interested. If not she still will learn how to thread a needle, sew on a button, stitch out a simple sampler. :)

Thank you so much Maria, you have my heartfelt thanks!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Grateful for the invention of the microwave and crock pot!!!!

Today was the Kirby Hookin and before leaving this morning, I put a corned beef and some veggies in the crockpot.">A Year of Slow Cooking: Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Vegetables Recipe We tried this recipe last year and loved how the corned beef AND veggies turned out.

I cook my cabbage in the microwave, nuking it is sooooo much better than boiling it for a couple of reasons.
1. Although there is a slight smell from the cooking cabbage it is nothing like the smell that happens from boiling cabbage on the stove.
2. Quick and easy, and can be done in the last few minutes as you are setting the table.

I usually cut up 1/2 cabbage for the two of us, putting it flat side down in a Corning ware bowl that is just the right size. 1/2 cup of water and some plastic wrap over the top. Cook on high for between 8-10 minutes(depending on the size of the cabbage). The finished cabbage is crisp tender and somewhat sweet. Melt a pat of butter over the top or spray some I can't believe... delish!

So off to serve dinner, after playing for most of the day. :)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Grateful for the Green Market

Today was one of my Market Vendor days at Discovery Green. It was a wonderful day weather wise, and I had my Tinkerbell jammies under my warm up suit, just in case the day turned colder. Tonight it is supposed to drop 40 degrees! Oh my! So for a wonderful day, rug hooking and visiting with folks about my rug hooking I am grateful!

Any day when my booth fee is paid by sales is great, and today that happened plus a bit more. There was a couple who I hope are interested in buying my witch rug. If it comes to that, I may shed a tear, but then will happily part with it, to buy more backings. I'd love to do Lori's Santa on a Pinto Pony... think it might be called Glad Tidings? After all, the fun is in the doing. If I miss the witch badly enough I can always do another...

One lady at the park was amazed to find another hooker in TX. Perhaps she'll bring a hook some other time, and we can have our own little hooking circle... Which reminds me, in March I'll be taking advantage of a wonderful opportunity. April, Red Jack Rugs will be teaching us how to hook by value. Are we lucky or what? Her white tiger is even more beautiful in person! She is a totally cool lady, and so interesting to visit with. My dearest friend is Lurie, she is so fun, and although I'm older, she enjoys my company too. :)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Grateful for a Loving Family

I hope that if you are reading my blog, it is because your life is also filled with many blessings to count. I don't intend for this to be a cyber version of the Christmas letters that used to come. Originally intended as a quick way to catch distant friends up on the events of a year, they were often satirized as bragging and boasting about the accomplishments of a family.

Our family is just an ordinary hard working one. My dh and I spent our years working with jobs as a teacher(me) and Boy Scout professional(he). He spent most of that career working as a Director of Camping, first in Kansas City and then for even more years here in Houston. We both loved much but not all of the work associated with those jobs. Nuff said about that.

Our daughter graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Technology degree from U of H. We are both proud of her and love her and our son-in-law as well. They have a home near us, which allows me to help watch our granddaughter, Olivia, for part of the week. She is a perfect grandchild. ;) Don't stand still or I'll pull out a picture!

Sincerely hoping that your family is one filled with the ordinary love that comes of having love and respect for each other...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Grateful for Quinoa :)

I'm not a vegan or vegetarian. I'm sadly quite unenlightened in my eating. Nothing satisfies me more in the food department than a nice juicy cheeseburger, crisp onion rings with a dribble of ketschup, and a giganto diet soda. Those choices have led to overweight, high cholesterol, diabetes, and possible other complications to my life now and in the future that remain hidden from me by the veil of time.

That doesn't address my sweet tooth, or the love of refined white flour products, although the bun on the burger is undoubtedly part of its charm. Especially when it has juice from the burger soaking into it. By now you are either starting to drool, shaking your head, or gagging. What does any of this have to do with quinoa?

We've started working quinoa into our meals, and it is making a difference in the weight I'm actually losing. Quinoa may be an acquired taste. My sister told me she thinks it tastes like dried lightening bugs, and although it made me giggle, it did ring somewhat true to me as well. Healthy may not be initially delicious. But I am a seeker in my life. While in the waiting room, waiting for our granddaughter to join the family, I read of the wonders of quinoa. Have to try that was my thought. But then, for the longest time it conveniently slipped my mind. Then for the next almost, but not quite as long, it required some looking to find. Then my first taste test, while not as strong a negative reaction, not really a bingo, either. :)

So far our best recipe for quinoa has been to add fresh vegetables especially cucumber which we both like but seldom put even in salad. Whatever is on special at the grocery adds to the ingredients, and it is convenient too, as I can make twice as much as we'll eat, and so far it has held over in the fridge until the next day. The other ingredient, greek yogurt is also high in protein, so we don't get hungry later in the evening.

What else goes with quinoa? It wasn't long before I started experimenting with other combinations. The first was mixing in an olive medley that included pickled pepperchelli and roasted red peppers. I think marinated artichoke hearts would work great with the olive medley, but don't keep them in the pantry. Next time I'll add both. In fact, I'm pretty sure that anything that would go on an antipasto tray would combine with the Greek style yogurt and quinoa. Now here is my first actual recipe. :) Real measurements, not just "till it looks right" directions.

1 jar 12 oz of Vita Herring in real sour cream
1 cup of quinoa(cooked and cooled)
1/3 cup of Greek yogurt.

Combine and refrigerate at least a couple of hours before serving to allow flavors to blend. Stir again just before serving.
Here is part of the nutritional info, I'll have to look up the rest.

Herring: Calories 110 Fat calories 70
Vitamin A 0%, Vitamin c 0%, Calcium 2%, Iron 4%,(based on a 2000 calorie diet) 5 servings of 1/4 cup in the jar. Each contains:Total Fat 7g, Saturated Fat 3g,
Trans Fat 0g,Polyunsat. Fat 1g, Monounsat. Fat 3g(good source of Omega 3s)as per their label, Cholesterol 35 mg 12%, Sodium 600mg 25%, Total Carb 5 grams 2%, Fiber 0g, Sugars 4g, Protein 7g.

This is a better combination for me as a diabetic than for someone with blood pressure issues. I'm going to try Herring in a different medium next time. If it has lower sodium. If you've gotten this far, thanks for hanging in there!

We used to eat sour cream herring on New Year's Eve. This sized jar not on a special sale was about $3.75. But as we'll be using this as a main course, that doesn't seem bad for 4 servings. $0.94 for the herring per portion. I'll try to remember to come back and update all of this for nuitrition and costs. Quinoa and greek yogurt aren't cheap, but worth their cost. Cooked quinoa can be added to a vegetable soup for a bit of a chew like barley. Greek yogurt mixed in with morning cereal and some fresh berries is way more filling and nutritious that fruity yogurt and granola...

In Memorium Chester

Yesterday, a pet quite dear to me, although I've never had the pleasure of petting him passed over the Rainbow Bridge. Chester, pet of of a dear friend, passed during surgery to repair a serious health problem. He was a big beautiful sweet cat, whose life and times were shared on her blog. If you know of him, I don't need give the address, and if not, she doesn't need gawkers. No offense intended.

Say a prayer of healing for her and his companion, Olivia, if it would be your way of honoring someone's passing. Those of us with fur babies know their power. His will remain in my heart♥ as well.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Grateful for the gifts of an artist!

I'm lucky to have been the swap recipient in our "Secret Admirer Swap" in AAPG from Debbie St. Germaine who is known to the rug hooking and needlepunch world as Woolen Sails. She designs patterns, and creates the most wonderful work. I've long been an admirer of her work, and have some of her patterns. But this was the first time I was lucky enough to handle her work. Pictures could never do it justice, although you'll be able to understand my delight with her finishing, design, and worksmanship even from my photos. The needlepunch items are as plush as velvet, and the coloration so subtle! The Angel would be my favorite piece, except that the needlebook and nametag are all tied for 1st place! Debbie also created a precious cat from ticking, and a lovely red wool. The hand button in the center of the heart is kind of the reverse of one of my favorite "primitive or country" symbols ~ the heart in hand. Traditionally, a sign of gratitude. I just recently did my own variation on that symbol in a quilt for our AAPG organizer Kanknchester.

I just realized that the beautiful piece of hand dyed wool is not obvious in the picture, as it was under the other fabrics. If you look at the red heart on the needle book, you'll be able to see its depth of color. I had opened it in the second photo, which shows a large piece of the wonderful red wool she sent.

Which brings us to the other picture.

This picture shows all the other things Debbie sent, except for 3. I Know! But the red wool is hidden under the other fabric and the Home Sweet Home Tart and bath gel just didn't get into the picture. All of these treasures would have been great in any swap,and she sent all the lovely handmades as well. I'll be wearing the nametag next weekend, when I'm at Discovery Green! It will also be awesome to have for hookins and at Texas Star Tyler in May...

Under the pile of treats is a book filled with patterns for toys just right for a childs hands. I'll be making some of these for Livvie who has a birthday right around the corner. So more likely these will be lovely Easter surprises...

Thank you Debbie, for your generosity and even more for your friendship. :)

Grateful for fun!

Yesterday was our monthly Saturday meeting for my ATHA hooking circle. We had a mug mat exchange, and it was lots of fun. Imagine all the lovely mats and mugs... They did take a digital picture, so if I receive a copy, you won't have to imagine. But until then, you can enjoy the mug mat I got from Pam. :)

Even the back of it was finished beautifully!

These exchanges are always fun. I was quite the scamp starting off the stealing at the Christmas exchange, so I'd vowed to myself not to steal at all this time, unless someone stole from me. (That's required under the rules ;)) I knew that any mat would be a treasure. After all gifts from friends who do the same type of work are great. Several of these ladies are light years above me in technique, and I admire their work so! I love the whimsy of this mat, love hearts, and was glad no one stole it from me. :)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Grateful for Super Bowl

Tomorrow evening the Super Bowl will be playing in lots of living rooms throughout America. Sad that it is the official end of Football season, as we'll have several long hot months between now and when the season kicks off again. Of course, that also means lots of wonderful days in the pool with the dh and daughter's family.

We will be hanging out with dd and dgd tomorrow afternoon - evening. We are all so busy that we really haven't taken the time to just enjoy each other's company much since Christmas. So that is the main reason I'm grateful for the Super Bowl. I dearly love our dgd, but miss time with dd. Oh, and we will be mostly eating healthy foods in moderate proportions, but I'm gonna eat some chips and dip...... oh yeah!!! This waistline is shrinking, but still no accident.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Grateful for online Tutorials

Want to learn how to knit socks, make blackberry jam, hook a rug, skin a griz? There is most likely an online tutorial that will give you a head start on success. :)

Grateful for Kindred Spirits is a shop of a new friend over at Etsy. LJ makes wonderful soaps, and delightful dangles. I like to go just to read her listings, and she is a member of EtsyFOLK, but the main reason I'm telling you about her, is that we have been having lots of email fun. She is playful, and generous of spirit. Two things I'd like to think are true of me too. But that would be the me I know. The one you know might not match. But I hope she does!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Grateful for our Postal Clerk

Today was one of those days where the list was too long, the time too short, and I ended up redoing some things I'd thought I could do ahead, but then the do aheads, well some wouldn't work, the others got lost (in my purse) some things fell out of the ikea bag I was trying to carry half my agenda for this week and next... sigh. Some days my life feels like I'm running just in front of a collapsing mine tunnel. And I surely don't move as fast as I used to.

Anyway, I got up to the window, and she was her usual friendly helpful self, doing her job quickly, and even though it was just a few minutes before closing she didn't seem worn out, or ready to abandon her window, when the clock struck 6. Of course there isn't a clock in the lobby, I guess after some of the patrons complained that the window wasn't open at 9:00.

Our post office is understaffed at least with regard to the front desk. It is common to be in line for 20 minutes or more, and the polite quieter grumbling is over. People sigh, roll their eyes, grumble way above a whisper, and generally would be making me feel anxious if I was on her side of the counter. She never seems to show any negative actions. Actually, they probably receive training in this, as the grumbling customers might "go postal" if they were treated impatiently by the clerk. I admire her. Wonder if she'd like a box of chocolates for Valentine's Day?